In a last minute development, Pakistan legspinner Danish Kaneria was denied "clearance" by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to join the test squad for the 2-match series against South Africa in the UAE.
Kaneria was expected to fly to Dubai early on Sunday morning as one of a quintet of players, but he was called by a board official just before he was about to leave for the airport and informed that he could not go. Azhar Ali, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Yousuf, Taufeeq Umar all left to join the squad.
"Danish has not been given clearance by the board," Zakir Khan, the PCB's director of cricket international, told ESPNcricinfo. No other reason was mentioned. Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, and other officials were not available for comment either.
The development will undoubtedly bring on much speculation over the cause of the sudden turn-around. Kaneria was selected in the original squad announced in October and because chief selector Mohsin Khan repeatedly stressed that no player will be selected unless he was cleared by the chairman, it must be assumed that Kaneria was cleared.
Kaneria last played for Pakistan in the Trent Bridge Test against England in August, after which he was removed from the side. Kaneria has played 61 Tests and is Pakistan's most successful spinner with 261 wickets.
Kaneria was the subject of a criminal investigation through the summer by the Essex police over allegations that he had involved himself in spot-fixing during a county game. The investigations had begun in May and Kaneria was cleared by police in September.
The shocking news comes after pace bowler Sohail Tanvir was also dropped from the squad due to the fact that he was still recuperating from a knew operation.